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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2009
3:32 PM

CONTACT: Sierra Club, American Rivers and Taxpayers for Common Sense

Ron Bonjean/Phil Singer (202) 349-1402

Sierra Club, American Rivers and Taxpayers for Common Sense Oppose Taylor Bill Adding Wind Coverage to the National Flood Insura

WASHINGTON - March 13 - The Sierra Club, American Rivers and Taxpayers for Common Sense, all members of the Americans for Smart Natural Catastrophe Policy, today opposed legislation introduced this year by Representative Gene Taylor (D-Miss) which would add wind insurance coverage to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

According to these groups, the Taylor bill (H.R. 1264) would irresponsibly expose American taxpayers to added financial liability at a time when the nation is engulfed in an economic crisis. The better alternative is to increase mitigation and environmental protection initiatives that would prevent damage to homes and the environment.

"Instead of increasing the liabilities of a program that is almost $20 billion in debt, Congress should focus its attention on making communities more resilient to storms by investing in the protection and restoration of wetlands, floodplains, and barrier islands," said Rebecca Wodder, President of American Rivers. "These cost-effective efforts will help limit flood damage to homes that are currently in harm's way while also not encouraging needlessly risky development in the future."

"Representative Taylor's bill would create a perverse incentive to build in unsafe or environmentally fragile areas," said Ed Hopkins, Director of Environmental Quality at the Sierra Club. "Improving local land use planning, strengthening building codes and making homes more resilient are better ways to protect communities from the risks of stronger hurricanes, storm surges and flooding."

"The flood insurance program is awash in debt, but instead of fixing the program and working to protect taxpayers from future losses, the Taylor bill would double down, adding a whole new costly liability to the program," said Steve Ellis, Vice President of Taxpayers for Common Sense. "In this tough budgetary time we cannot afford to put taxpayers more on the hook than they already are."

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